Anyone who knows me knows I am big on horror. I grew up on slashers, I fell in love with Vincent Price at the age of 14 (and never fell out), and I can recite Bela Lugosi's Bride of the Monster monologue from memory. As awesome as this makes me*, it does have the abhorrent side effect of leaving me totally and utterly stone-cold desensitised. The last time I was scared at a film was 1998 and I was 8 years old. (For reference, I Know What You Did Last Summer, I spent days thinking the dude with the hook was behind my bedroom door). That was, until I found Grave Encounters one fortuitous Sunday evening in 2012.
Reviews on Grave Encounters have been largely mixed, and for someone who highly stakes big budget effects and gore, it might not be all that. But if you're looking for some genuinely bone-chilling spookiness, look no further. On a meagre budget, The Vicious Brothers succeed where others have failed in found-footage films.
The best part by far is that the hauntings themselves are explained, but not in a way that detracts from the creepy. I'm hoping it's not just me, but my biggest pet peeve is a big build up to an ultimately unexplained anticlimax. I'm talking horror films here guys, get your mind out of the gutter.
So get this. The sequel is set in the real world. The world where Grave Encounters is just a film by The Vicious Brothers. It centres around a group of college kids who find Riverview – the set of the film – along with an online forum claiming that the events in the movie are true, and decide to take a road trip to the hospital and check it out for themselves.
The films aren't easy to get hold of on DVD, but you can find them for download on iTunes. I highly, highly advise it. Even if you hate it, it's not a film you can miss if you claim to be a horror buff. Some excellent scare moments, an excellent premise, beautifully executed, and even a little bit of humour in there. Ghost-horror at it's finest.
*disclaimer: awesomeness may be exaggerated.